Recovering My Ironing Board

I recently finally got around to recovering my ironing board, which was long overdue! I haven’t done a huge amount of sewing recently but my partner irons a shirt most days and he was finding the old crappy cover particularly painful to use.

This was the cheapest ironing board that Argos sold when I bought it a few years ago. I didn’t hate the colour but the elastic around the edge gave way pretty quickly and for more months than I care to admit, I had it safety pinned to stop the cover falling off completely!

Also even when this was new, it wasn’t the best because it had this tiny thin piece of foam as the only padding, which really didn’t last very long before you could feel the frame underneath!

Luckily because the elastic had all stopped being springy, I could use the old cover as a template for the new one. I used this amazing sewing-themed cotton I had in my stash. I did have to seam it but you really can’t see it on the cover because I pattern matched it.

I then used the new cover as a template for the wadding. I bought a really thick wadding from my local sewing shop – it was the one the lady in the shop said she used for her ironing board.

She advised me to overlock the wadding and the fabric together, which I did, but it was then too thick for the width of bias binding I bought so I had to unpick the overlocking – which is always fun!

So the method I used was based on the one from Tilly and the Buttons – you make a channel with bias binding and thread string though the channel and pull it tight around the frame. You can also use elastic but since that was the downfall of the first cover, I wanted to use cord so I could re-tie it if it loosened in the future.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how it looks, and how useful it is to have a working ironing board!

Have you ever put off a relatively simple job out of laziness even though you know it will improve your life to do it? ……..no, me neither………

 

 

My first jeans!

OMG I made jeans! And I’m writing a blog post – took an unplanned break (from sewing as well as blogging) but I’m back now.

And I’m back with my first pair of jeans! I’ve been saying I’m going to make jeans for almost as long as I’ve been sewing and I finally did it. And it wasn’t as hard as I thought – though these are far from perfect, but they are a wearable toile.

The pattern is the Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns. I traced off the pattern and cut them out a whole year before I sewed them – in May last year! In that year I have lost an inch from my waist and hips – I think from having a physical job in an upholstery fabric shop, where the rolls of fabric weigh 20kg.

This means that by the time I came to sew them, they were inevitably going to need a bit of taking in, but I didn’t bother to trim down/re-cut the pieces as I knew they would need some adjustments anyway. I cut the size 8, though even at the time when I cut them out, I should have cut a 6 at the waist (but I didn’t because I was scared of ending up with all the trickiest pieces not fitting together.

As I predicted, I did have to make quite a few adjustments

  • I took 6cm off the hem, leaving 3cm hem allowance (1.5cm twice). Next time I’ll shorten them above and below the knee rather than just lopping it off the bottom.
  • I took 4cm off the centre back seam at the waist, grading to 3cm off at the yoke and 2cm off 8cm up from the crotch seam.
  • I took 3cm off the inner leg seam (off the legs of the jeans) at the crotch, grading out to the standard seam allowance mid-thigh.
  • I took 1cm off the front crotch curve.

The look maybe a little baggy under my bum, but they’re not meant to be fitted or tight – they are ‘boyfriend’ fit.

To be honest, I quite like how they fit, and this is the first pair of jeans I’ve had in my wardrobe for a couple of years because my rtw ones wore out and since I’d bought loads of denim to make my own I couldn’t justify buying rtw ones.

The denim was pretty cheap from one of the shops in Birmingham, when I went with some fellow sewists from Bristol. I’ve just realised this was over 2 years ago! That’s how long I’ve had this fabric sitting around waiting to become Morgan jeans. I also bought some denim for my first part of Ginger jeans, so hopefully they will follow on soon!

I quite enjoyed doing all the details that make jeans look like jeans, though I didn’t put the rivets on as I don’t have a surface on which to hammer them. I liked doing the top stitching – which I did with normal thread as my machine really hates top-stitching thread – and the bar tacks and things.

I did sign up to the online jeans making class on the Closet Case Patterns website, and I did watch quite a few of the classes, but then I got impatient and just plowed ahead. Before my Gingers I’m definitely going to watch the whole thing because they will need more careful fitting.

One great tip she gives (which I think my also be in the instructions) is to baste together the main pieces to check the fit. I’m so, so glad I did this as I knew what adjustments to make before I did all the top-stitching or sewed pockets and then had to unpick them or anything.

The only thing I regret with these jeans is I messed up either the button hole placement or the button placement – I suspect it was the buttons. This means that the fly shield doesn’t quite completely cover the fly underneath. The main button on the waistband also means the jeans are a little loose on my waist, but they are (I think) supposed to sit on your hips, so I think it’s fine.

But my advice is don’t leave the buttons until the morning when you’re catching a coach to meet your sister in London for 2 days! Definitely put on the jeans to mark the button placement!

And now I’ll leave you with some more photos because despite the buttons, I’m pretty proud of myself for making jeans!

Have you put off sewing something for years and then discovered it wasn’t as bad as you thought? Or is it just me…….

 

p.s. I’m wearing the jeans with my refashioned raglan sleeve tee.

 

 

A Pair of Frankies

As soon as I got Tilly and the Buttons’ new book, Stretch, I wanted to make most of the patterns in it. I thought Freya would be my first make, but it turns out Frankie was the first one I tried out…..and I made 2!

When Tilly had her fabric shop to celebrate the release of the book, she was selling nice white jersey – I bought 2m as I knew it would be good quality and I would be able to use some small pieces of jerseys I had in my stash to colour block 2 new tees.

The mustard jersey was a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani – I think when I went there, either with the Bristol sewing ladies or at Sew Brum. It’s such a nice jersey but there was less than I realised when I bought it – I thought I might be able to squeeze out a whole tee from it, but I only just fitted the sleeve pattern piece on it and I had to cut out the neckband in 2 pieces, with 2 joins!

The pink jersey was a remnant I bought from Sarah from Like Sew Amazing when she was selling off some of her own stash. Again, I naively thought I would get a whole tee from it, but thankfully the Frankie pattern came along and saved both jerseys from languishing in my stash.

As you can probably tell from the photos, the pink jersey is thinner and drapier than either the white (though it’s pretty close) or the mustard jersey. I did have some problems sewing on the neckbands neatly, and particularly on the pink tee, it looks a bit puckered and gathered, but it looks worse in the photos than in real life and it doesn’t bother me too much.

What’s weird is I always used to have a complex that I had really broad shoulders compared to the rest of me and I thought raglan sleeves would make me look even broader. But after making a couple of Linden sweatshirts, I decided that was bollocks and I could wear raglan sleeves! Hurray! (Also I no longer think my shoulders are out of proportion – or if they are, I don’t care!).

I made both tees in the size 3 – which is my standard Tilly size. I can definitely recommend this pattern and the instructions are also good – I always fear instructions in books won’t be as comprehensive as if I bought a pattern separately.  There are also some useful tips about sewing with jerseys and how to troubleshoot common overlocker problems, so I would definitely recommend buying this book, particularly if you’re new to sewing with knits. And if you’re an old hand with knits, the patterns are great.

Have you got Stretch? What is your favourite pattern? Or are you like me and this is possibly the first time you’ve actually used a pattern from one of the many sewing books you own?

 

 

2 More Cleos

After the success of my first 2 Cleos, I couldn’t resist making a couple more!

I made them both in size 3, as before, and made no changes – it’s not like the Cleo needs much fitting!

The black version is made from some really soft needlecord from my local sewing shop. It isn’t the best for dressmaking fabrics (they have a lot of quilting stuff and novelty cottons) but they do often have needlecord in stock in the Winter/Autumn.

I bought just a metre of the black needlecord and managed to get the Cleo out of it, which makes this a very economical make for me.

As with the other 2 versions I made, I added just the front pocket and not the 2 smaller pockets.

I also made them to the shorter length, but looking at these photos I think I could do with taking up the hem a little more – I prefer things I hit me above the knee rather than on or just below the knee.

 

The mustard version is my second mustard version. You may be thinking ‘wow, she must really like mustard if she needs 2 mustard Cleos in her wardrobe!’. But the truth is I got a black mark on the front of the mustard denim one I made before and this one is to replace it.

The fabric is the left over cord from Fabricland which I bought to make my suit for the Sewcialite Soiree. I bought loads of the cord as I wasn’t totally sure how much I would need – I think I ordered 6 metres, which was obviously way too much! I’ve also managed to get some dungarees out of the rest of the leftovers (coming soon!).

Again, I think I want to shorten the hem a bit as it looks a little too long here.

The buckles are from my local sewing shop – they are good for notions and I buy a lot of thread from them! They are slightly too wide for the width of the straps, but the advantage of being able to buy them locally outweighs the slightly too wide fit.

One of my favourite things about the Cleo is the shape of the back and how the straps fit!

 

I feel like there isn’t very much left to say about the Cleo dungaree dress as I’m sure almost everyone has made one (or more) and it’s a pretty simple make. I like the top-stitching details and how quickly you can have a new item for your wardrobe – and if you’re anything like me, you’ll wonder what you wore before you made one!

How many Cleos do you have? Or are you the last bastion of not-making-one?

 

 

My Dressmakers’ Ball Dress

I’ve made a YouTube channel! My first video is talking through some of the details of the dress I made for The Dressmakers’ Ball. I won’t always also do a blog post about things I’m going to make videos about, but in this case I took loads of photos so I wanted to share some of them here!

I made a copy of a dress worn by Ginnifer Goodwin to the Met Gala a few years ago. I’d always loved the dress and thought this was the perfect excuse to make it!

You can see the red stitching I used to attached the beautiful sequinned fabric I bought from RayStitch (after realising there was no way I was going to have time to sew all the sequins on by hand) to the silk organza I bought from Stoff and  Stil.

The black stitching you can see is the stitching lines I did to mark the edges of where to sew on the sequins – when I was going to do it by hand. If anyone has any ideas what I can do with the sequins, by the way, please let me know! I guess some embroidery or something!

The gold stitching is the new stitching for construction – in this case darts. I cut open the darts on the front bodice and pressed them open to reduce bulk.

I had the leather (or more accurately faux leather) already in my stash as I bought it a while ago from Girl Charlee to make a leather jacket.

To sew the leather into the seams, I tried a couple of methods but what I ended up going with was cutting the strips 1 1/4″ (the finished width) plus 2 x 5/8″ seam allowances, which is 2.5″. I then stitched one side of the leather to one side of the seam, 5/8″ away from the edge, along the 5/8″ seam allowance of the leather – along the chalk line below.

I then did the same on the other side – but the 2 pattern pieces are not yet sewn together, they are only attached with the strip of leather.

Then I sewed the actual seam of the 2 pattern pieces, which brought the 2 edges of the leather together, but not overlapping, reducing the potential bulk at the seam. The photo, below, is how it looked before it had been pressed. Once pressed the leather sat pretty flush with the sequins, which is what I wanted!

It was starting to come together here – it just needed the leather on the shoulders and the sleeves adding. Oh, and a zip!

I reinforced the shoulders to make sure they didn’t stretch out.

And then added the sleeves and the leather around the neckline and shoulders.

My carpet looks like I murdered a sequinned Muppet! And I’m still finding sequins now, a month later!

I added a waist stay to the dress – my first time doing this. It holds the weight of the skirt, which is pretty heavy, and takes some of the strain off the zip as it’s such a fitted dress. I learned how to do it from one of my books, Couture Sewing Techniques. I would highly recommend this book – especially if you’re making something more involved.

The ball was such good fun! They had the Leicester University big band playing the music, and they were great. They played a mixture of traditional big band stuff and some newer things. I find it the best kind of music to dance to!

I managed to take basically no photos all night – which I think is the sign that you’re having a good time! I did take this loo selfie, though! I had on ALL THE EYESHADOW – I had to watch a YouTube video for how to apply it!

And lovely Helen from Stitch My Style took this photo of me – during the 5 minutes I remembered I should take at least one proper photo of my dress at the actual ball!

Did I mention I love my dress?!

It is fully lined in this rayon challis from Minerva crafts. I hemmed the lining and sequins together at the hem and on the sleeves as the sequins were quite scratchy and the rayon was a lot more drapey and I feared tripping over the lining inside my dress, so I hemmed them together.

One of my favourite things about my outfit was one of the things I didn’t make – I wore trainers! I can’t be arsed with heels any more. I have never found them comfortable and I thought (excuse my French) ‘fuck it’ I want to be comfortable and be able to dance without having to take my shoes off, or feeling like my feel were going to fall off after 10 minutes!

It has an almost invisible side zip and some poppers on the underarm seam of the corresponding sleeve to allow me to get in and out of it.

I drafted the pattern myself, using a Burda Academy course I mentioned I had signed up for here. I think I possibly over-fitted the dress a little as it ended up with basically no ease around the waist, but I do think it’s one of the best fitting things I’ve made (which I guess it should be as it’s made from my measurements). Especially across the back – I’m very narrow across the back so I usually have lots of extra fabric and pooling because I’m too lazy to do any adjustments!

I sewed some of the sequinned fabric I had left onto this little clutch bag to make a matching purse to take to the ball. It just about fits my phone, some cash and my hotel room card!

 

As well as the matching trainers and purse, I wore my gold party socks – I almost thought it was too matchy-matchy but then I realised I don’t care!

I really hope they run the ball again next year, or in 2 years as it was such good fun. And who doesn’t love an excuse to go all out with an outfit!? Do you think you’ll go next time?